Wave of Singles to Make Big Impact on Housing


Wave of Singles to Make Big Impact on Housing.

The National Association of Realtors predicts this wave of singles will shape the new home builds.  They have noticed there are more single adults, than in the past, and they are jumping into the real estate market.  The Association of Realtors are predicting builders will be accommodating this type of buy because they are looking for different amenities than Buyers with a family.  The builders need to focus on community and affordability to accommodate these single adults.

What is Title Insurance and Why do I Need it?

What is Title Insurance?

Purchasing a home is usually the biggest investment in someones life; that’s why it’s crucial to protect your investment to the fullest.  One way is to obtain mortgage insurance-protecting the rights and interest of the property and the parties involved. The title company assures the Buyer will receive protection from future claims against the property and the transfer of ownership is completed fluidly.    

People may establish rights and claims to a particular property because land endures over generations.  Sellers rights-which may involve heirs and family- may be ambiguous.  Government agencies, utilities, contractors or lenders may also have “rights” to the property, limiting  the Buyer’s “title.”  There are two types of title insurance policies, “lender’s policy” and “owner policy.”

Lender policy.

Once a Buyer and Seller get into contract the escrow company will create a statement with all of the allocated fees that come along in the closing process.  If the Buyer is obtaining a loan, the lender will require the borrower to pay for title insurance.  This is to guarantee: the borrower does own the property they are lending on; there is an enforceable and valid lien attached to the property; and that there are no existing claims associated with the property.  If something were to happen with the title of the property, the title company is insuring the lender will get the balance of the loan amount, after all, it is other peoples’ money they are lending you.  

Owner Policy.

The owner’s title insurance policy is not required but, in my opinion, necessary.  Lender requires their policy to protect themselves, but who is protecting you? Obtaining an owner’s policy is a one-time fee that protects you and your heirs for the full amount paid for the property should an issue arise after the close of escrow in regard to the title of the property.  The Washington Post recently published an article with a real-life situation of a first time home buyer. In a nutshell, the previous owners had divorced 20 years prior.  The husband had his current girlfriend pose as the second party on title and sign all the closing documents. Some time after the buyer moved in, the ex-wife shows up and demands to know what was going on.  Legally she still owned one-half of the property and the buyer the other half. Because the lender had a title policy they would be able to get the money if necessary.  However, the Buyer did not have an owner’s policy, therefore he had to take this battle on himself-with no help legally or financially.  On the other hand, if the Buyer did have an owner’s policy the title company would step in on behalf of the buyer and pay for any fees or buy-outs associated with the issue.

Title insurance policies require a one-time-only , modest premium for a policy to protect your investment with no renewal necessary.  

Best Mortgage Rates for Buyers in all of 2014


Many industry leaders thought the latter part of the year would cause interest rates to rise- but it is exactly the opposite!  Mortgage applications have also see an increase this month, but they are still lower than expected.  With the job market increasing, there are more homes for sale and more people looking to buy then.

According to Les Christie from CNNMoney:

“The average rate for a 30-year loan now stands at 4.1%,

according to Freddie Mac.That matched its lowest level since June 2013,

when it stood at 3.93%.The average 15-year fixed was 3.23%.”

Another contributing factor to the low mortgage rates is that the Federal Government is still buying mortgage-backed securities and Treasury Bonds to stabilize the industry after the crash through a mortgage stimulus program.  The Feds have been tapering off monthly these monthly purchases for a while now and October 2014 will be the last of it.

Low mortgage rates lead to lower monthly payments so this is a GREAT time to buy a home!

Rental Payments Will Be Reflected in Your Credit Score!


Have you been renting for years? Are you looking to buy a home in Oakland? Maybe your credit history is good but doesn’t show a long track record of on-time payments? Times are changing and this is good news for you. The Los Angels Times recently published an article that reveals Experian and, TransUnion are going to start adding rent payment data to credit profiles. Up until now, monthly rental payments did not contribute to your credit score because all-voluntary payments (like rent) are not required to be reported to credit bureaus.

Experian and TransUnion, 2 of the 3 largest credit bureaus, have each created a measurement for landlords to easily report tenant payments to apply to their credit score. TransUnion created “ResidentCredit” by teaming up with RentTrack, allowing tenants to pay their rent online providing a history of rental payments that can be applied to their credit report. TransUnion is also willing to share this data with other bureaus-big or small.

Equifax, rounding out the three largest credit bureaus, has also created a system that allows all-voluntary payments, such as utilities, to factor into your credit score.

If you’ve been renting for a while and have gotten sick of paying someone else’s mortgage, this may well be your chance to get into the continually appreciating Oakland home market. For more information on how you can take advantage of your approved credit score, please contact Kristy and Company today!




Remodeling Laws Changed!


Here’s a good excuse to buy that cool new faucet you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest!

Remodeling laws changed this year to favor water conservation. As of Jan 1st, someone remodeling a property built before 1994 must upgrade toilets and faucets to a lower regulated flow. By 2017, all property owners must adhere to this standard, regardless of intent to remodel.

Find out more details in this article: http://bit.ly/1gvwBFK


Did you know Walnut Creek is now smoke-free? An ordinance passed earlier this year that bans smoking in downtown, recreational areas, commercial zoned properties and multiunit residences. First time violators could be cited starting at $100, repeat offenders could have a civil suit filed against them by the city.

Read more details about where you can and can not smoke here:http://bit.ly/WalnutCreekSmokeFree

Fall in Love With Your Home Again!


Whether you’re remodeling, reselling or just want a change, the easiest way to fall in love with a room again is with a fresh coat of paint. I’m loving Benjamin Moore’s new 2014 trend palette, and I think you will too. The collection is more subdued than last year’s, making for a gorgeous pallet of neutrals that all work together nicely. <3

You can check out the 2014 palette here for inspiration: http://bit.ly/2014ColorTrends

How the 2014 California Fence Law Update Affects You


The obligation of an California property owner in regards to the up-keep and maintenance of in closed boundary (also know as a fence) was amended at the start of 2014.

What you need to know about California fencing laws.
The original civil code was written in 1872 and had never been amended. The original code required neighbors to share the cost of a new fence or existing fence, however, the cost-sharing was dependent on the neighbor being asked to commit to the repair or building of the fence. If the neighbor did not agree and you felt they were liable to help, the next step would have been small claims court.

As of January, 1, 2014, “Adjoining landowners shall share equally in the responsibility for maintaining the boundaries and monuments between them.” This is basically saying that, because both parities equally benefit from the fence, than both parties are EQUALLY responsible for the construction and up-keep, unless there is a different agreement in writing.

If you are the party being asked to take equal responsibility, but do not have the resources to preform, or feel you are not liable, the civil code can be overcome by the court. The courts will look at the circumstances and require: an equal contribution, a less then equal contribution, or no contribution necessary.

How does this affect you?
If you benefit from the fence then you are equally responsible for the construction, maintenance, or replacement of the fence. With this in mind, make sure you are setting money aside for up-coming home improvements if you’re concerned about the quality of fences on your property lines.

If you’re interested in seeing the law verbatim, click here to view it in on the California Legislative Website.