7 Home Buying Acronyms You NEED to Know

If buying a home is in your future, there are some terms you are going to need to know. We are breaking down 7 of the most common home buying acronyms on the blog today!

  1. HOA = Homeowners Association. Many neighborhoods are governed by a Homeowners Association. If you choose a home in a HOA-regulated neighborhood, you’ll pay association fees and will be subject to the HOA’s rules. On the plus side, you’ll also benefit from some nice services like trash removal, amenities, lawn care or maintenance!
  2. FRM = Fixed Rate Mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that does NOT change during the entire term of your loan.
  3. ARM = Adjustable Rate Mortgage. An adjustable rate mortgage generally has lower monthly payments at the beginning, but will adjust over time depending on the interest rates.
  4. P&I = Private Mortgage Insurance. This is the extra fee you pay when your down payment is less than 20%.
  5. LTV = Loan to Value. This is the ratio that is calculated by dividing the loan amount by the home’s purchase price. This is important because if you put down less than 20%, you could be able to tap into a special program from your lender.
  6. PITI = Principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Also called your “monthly housing expense”, this includes your mortgage payment and a monthly portion of your homeowners insurance and real estate taxes.
  7. CD = Closing Disclosure. A document that provides important information about your loan, like the interest rate, monthly payments and closing costs. You’ll want to make sure that the information in this document matches the Loan Estimate you received when you applied for the loan.

Real estate terms can seem complicated! We are here to help. Contact us today to help you navigate the home buying process.

10 Tips for Moving with Kids

Making a big move with children can seem like a daunting task. There are new friends to make, possibly a change of schools, and new bedrooms to get used to! We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite tips to make moving with your kids as easy as possible.

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  1. Pack up your child’s toys while they are asleep (but leave one box of toys until the very end!).
  2. Keep your child’s belongings separate and organized by using a different colored duct tape for each child. You’ll know exactly who belongs to which box with a quick glance!
  3. Let your child help decorate their new room. Give them three “parent-approved” paint color choices to choose from to let them feel like they have a say without picking something crazy.
  4. Find a fun playground or restaurant in your new neighborhood to visit even before you move (if possible!). This creates a sense of excitement and shows your children how fun your new part of town will be!
  5. Pack a “moving day bag”. Let your children keep a special toy or fun activities out and in an easily accessible bag that will give them things to keep them occupied while the adults are working.
  6. Keep a positive attitude. Children will feed off of your energy. If you can stay positive and excited about the move, they will be too! Think of this as a fun, new adventure for your family.
  7. Create a “moving day plan” and talk about it a lot before the big day arrives. This will help relieve some of your child’s anxiety when they know what to expect!
  8. Let your kids help with the move. Children love to be a part of the action. Let them dust, pack a box, or sweep!
  9. Say “goodbye” to your old house and then say “hello!” to your new home! This small gesture is big for younger children.
  10. Most of all, listen to your children and their concerns. Even the youngest of children can have a hard time adjusting during a move.

If you’re ready to make a move with your family, we are ready to help! Contact us here to find your dream home!

5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House

If your real estate agent is holding an open house to help sell your home, there are some things you can do on your end to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. We all know that it is necessary to clean your house and clear the clutter, but here are some additional tips for presenting your home in its best light to potential buyers!

  1. Remove your pet (and all signs and smells of your pet). If you can, it is a really good idea to bring your pet with you the day of the open house. Put pet beds, bowls and toys away and do your best to vacuum up pet hair and spray pet odor eliminating air freshener. Pet smells that really turn off potential buyers, so do your best to eliminate them before the big day.
  2. Brighten up your home. Open the curtains or blinds, wash your windows and let the sunshine in! Grab some cheery fresh flowers from the store and place them throughout your home. It’s also a great idea to turn the lights on in each room.
  3. Leave a treat. Display cookies or cupcakes on a pretty stand in your kitchen as a “thank you” to your visitors. Not only is it a nice gesture, but it is a great way to encourage them to stand in the kitchen and chat with the realtor showing your home! Bonus points if you leave bottles of water or some fresh lemonade to drink!
  4. Think about the exterior. Start off with a great first impression by power washing your exterior, cleaning up your landscaping, and purchasing a new, clean welcome mat.
  5. Think about every closet and drawer. People are nosy! They are most likely going to open drawers and closet doors. Make sure they are as organized and clutter-free as possible. If you need to, rent a storage unit to place your extra items until you sell your home.

Want more open house tips? Contact an ARE Real Estate agent today!

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Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Mimi Molina!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate! Meet Mimi Molina!

Mimi Molina

What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

It’s friendly people and the beautiful, peaceful atmosphere!

What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

The name of the game is “right pricing”. Find a real estate agent that really understands the market and can value your house appropriately.

What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

I advise my clients to know the ultimate condition of the property they want to buy. A physical inspection by a licensed professional is highly recommended!

Where is your favorite place in the world?

I love Italy. Out-of-this-world scenic hillside, interesting historic architecture, romantic atmosphere and their delicious cuisine!

What do you love about being a real estate agent?

I love to be of assistance to people who need to sell or find their dream house that meets their needs. It’s awesome to see my clients to get nicely situated! And I love showing houses!

Tell us a little more about yourself and your family!

I grew up and studied in the Philippines and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in nursing. I have four other siblings and have been married to the love of my life for almost 50 years (on October 25, 2020!). I am blessed to have two sons, now both with families of their own. My youngest son John is a commercial airline pilot working for Air Asia, with three kids. My eldest, Michael, is a Media Operation Tech and has two children. I am blessed!

Want to work with Mimi? Contact her here!

Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Julie Apathy!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate! Meet Julie Apathy!

Julie Apathy

  1. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your family!

I grew up in Glendale, CA with three brothers and a sister. We loved camping and going to the beach. My father was an architect, engineer, and contractor. My mom was a preschool teacher and played organ at church. I received my AA degree from Glendale Jr. College and transferred to California State University, Northridge where I received my BS in Foods in Business. While in college I worked as a tour guide at Universal Studios and later worked at Glendale Adventist Hospital in the dietary department. Because much of my family had moved to Tehachapi in the early 1980s, I followed them and helped run Old Town Postal & Blueprint Services. I had been dating Jon, who was also from Glendale, and we got married in 1986. We took over the business and had two daughters.  In 1997, I started my full time teaching career at Golden Hills Elementary as a second grade teacher, and have been there ever since. In 2013 I got my real estate license and have been a part time agent with Associated Real Estate. My teaching career is coming to an end, and I look forward to spending more time as a realtor, helping clients achieve their goals.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

I have lived in Tehachapi for 33 years and love it! I’ve seen the growth over the years, but it still has that small town charm. My husband and I have raised two daughters here and now have two grandkids that live down the street from us. It’s the friendly people, beautiful rural landscape, and location that truly make it one of the best places to live in California.

  1. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

When getting ready to sell your house, it’s important to get it in ship-shape before listing.  Investing some money and muscle before listing will pay off in the long run and help to increase the home’s value. Neutral paint colors and curb appeal will also bring more showings. Pricing is key, and if it’s priced right, it won’t sit on the market and lose interest. Find a realtor who is knowledgeable and puts your interests first.

  1. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

If you are planning on buying a home, it’s important to get pre-qualifed for your loan. I recommend going with one of our local lenders here in Tehachapi. They are experienced, know the market, and make things move as smooth as possible.

  1. Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is the garden island of Kauai.

  1. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

The best thing about out being a real estate agent is that sense of accomplishment once escrow has closed and my clients are satisfied with their purchase or sale. It’s wonderful getting to know them and helping them through the process.

Want to work with Julie? Contact her here!

Patriotic Desserts for Your Memorial Weekend

The first big cookout of the summer is here! Celebrate with some delicious (and patriotic!) desserts that are sure to be a hit at your get-together.

Patriotic M&M Cookie Bars. Easy to make and perfect for a crowd, these will be devoured in no time.

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Red, White and Blue Cheesecake Strawberries. A healthier dessert option that is delicious and pretty!

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Red, White and Blue Popsicles. Made with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, these popsicles are refreshing AND good for you!

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Red, White and Blue Pretzel Bites. Sweet and salty is always a winning combination! And adding a mini candy bar to the middle? YUM.

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Firecracker Cake. This cake is a showstopper! And it’s easier to make than you think.

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What will you be making for your Memorial Day Cookout? Comment below and let us know! For more ideas check out this recipe round-up from Country Living.

Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Beecher Aller!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate!

Meet Beecher Aller!

ARE Real Estate Beecher Aller

  1. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your family!

I grew up in a military family with five siblings in the Antelope Valley. My favorite part of living in the Antelope Valley now is its central location and the easy ability to get anywhere.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

Henry’s Café is one of my favorite places in Tehachapi!

  1. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

Find a highly qualified and successful agent and price your home reasonably.

  1. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

Do your best to determine ahead of time if you can really afford the market you are looking at.

  1. Where is your favorite place in the world?

Anywhere my family is!

  1. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

Because I’m now “retired”, I can work the hours that I want!

Want to work with Beecher? Contact him here!

4 Last Minute Halloween Decorations for the Exterior of Your Home

Boo! Did Halloween sneak up on you like a black cat in an alley? It’s not too late to get in the holiday spirit with these cheap and easy decorations for the outside of your home before the 31st!

  1. Use construction paper and streamers to turn your front door into a silly monster!

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Click here for instructions. 

2. Pull out your wheelbarrow, fill it with dirt and put skeleton bones sticking out of the dirt. For this one, you’ll just need to deconstruct a store-bought skeleton. Easy as that!

Wheelbarrow

Click here for instructions.

3. Turn black construction paper into creepy window silhouettes! Keep them simple with bats and ghosts, or make them elaborate with witches and whole spooky (or silly!) scenes.

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Click here for instructions. 

4. Ready for the easiest idea yet? Switch out your normal light bulbs in your exterior lighting with orange or purple light bulbs! Instant spookiness!

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Have a fun and safe Halloween!

7 Reasons to Own A Home

7 Reasons to Own A Home

  1. Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  2. Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

Tehachapi Weekly Real Estate Update: March 12, 2017

Sold Last Week in Tehachapi, CA: March 6-March 12th

This is House Market Information for Tehachapi, California. See what sold in your neighborhood last week.

Address Area Price Per Sq Ft CDOM Sell $
28061 Deertrail Dr Bear Valley Springs 79.95 98 $118,000
22160 Buena Vista St Golden Hills East 81.44 103 $165,000
22317 Milky Way Way Golden Hills East 105.26 680 $180,000
20031 Bald Mountain Dr Golden Hills East 138.63 329 $225,000
22028 McCarthy Dr Golden Hills West 161.72 81 $245,000
26131 Deertrail Dr Bear Valley Springs 132.21 131 $247,900
20401 Tucker Rd County 180.56 733 $260,000
29280 Horsethief Dr Stallion Springs 152.31 32 $290,000
18581 Kern Ct Stallion Springs 153.21 109 $334,000

Based on information from the Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the Tehachapi MLS). All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.


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How to Prepare to Finance a Home

How to Prepare to Finance a Home

Don’t get discouraged.

Home finance can be complicated. The first and most important step is to not allow yourself to be discouraged. There are programs and solutions for nearly every situation. Do not be afraid to seek the advice of qualified real estate professionals, mortgage brokers and credit councilors to help you achieve your goals. With good advice and hard work home ownership is attainable!

Develop a budget.

Instead of telling yourself what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll probably spot some ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.

Reduce debt.

Lenders generally look for a debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt—car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.

Increase your income.

Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.

Save for a down payment.

Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with 5 percent down or less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.

Keep your job.

While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

Establish a good credit history.

Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off entire balances as promptly as possible.

Start saving.

Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

Obtain a copy of your credit report.

Make sure it is accurate and correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

Decide what kind of mortgage you can afford.

Generally, you want to look for homes valued between two and three times your gross income, but a financing professional can help determine the size of loan for which you’ll qualify. Find out what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Also, gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Don’t forget property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

Seek down payment help.

Check with your state and local government to find out whether you qualify for special mortgage or down payment assistance programs. If you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update- Feb 26, 2017

Sold Last Week in Tehachapi, CA: February 21- February 26

This is House Market Information for Tehachapi, California. See what sold in your neighborhood last week.

Address Area BD BA Sq Ft Lot Sz DOM List/Sell $
19538 Cherry Ln County 4 2 1923 4.5 39 $194,000
24401 Fire Ct Bear Valley Springs 2 2 1668 1.1 0 $235,000
806 Mulberry St Tehachapi City 3 2 1850 0.17 245 $249,000
1062 Hickory Ave Tehachapi City 3 2 1758 0.23 58 $250,000
914 Carolyn Ln Tehachapi City 3 2 1599 0.23 113 $255,000
24260 Bowen Ct Bear Valley Springs 3 2 1567 1.27 5 $265,900
19604 Brite Valley Golden Hills East 4 3 2102 0.28 172 $287,000
28711 Gleneagle Ct Stallion Springs 3 2 1849 0.465 86 $290,000
23651 Senica Way Bear Valley Springs 3 2 1756 2.28 64 $310,000
22350 Milky Way Golden Hills East 3 3 2160 0.55 4 $350,000

Based on information from the Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the Tehachapi MLS). All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.


Search Tehachapi Homes for Sale the easy way.

Check out our

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to see real time data from the MLS for FREE!

What to Know About Your Home Inspection

Tehachapi Home Buyers: What to Know About Your Home Inspection

Some items should always be examined during a Tehachapi home inspection.

Structure

The home’s “skeleton” should be able to stand up to weather, gravity, and the earth that surrounds it. Structural components include items such as the foundation and the framing.

Exterior

The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, doors, siding, trim, and surface drainage. They should also examine any attached porches, decks, and balconies.

Roofing

A good inspector will provide very important information about your roof, including its age, roof draining systems, buckled shingles, and loose gutters and downspouts. They should also inform you of the condition of any skylights and chimneys as well as the potential for pooling water.

Plumbing

They should thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Pressure pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category but are less common in our area. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate larger problems. The inspector should be able to tell you the water heater’s age, its energy rating, and whether the size is adequate for the house.

Electrical

You should be informed of the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating and air conditioning

The home’s vents, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. They should also describe and inspect all the central air and through-wall cooling equipment. The inspector should be able to tell you the if the heating and cooling systems in the house are efficient.

Interiors

Your inspector should take a close look at walls, ceilings and floors; steps, stairways, and railings; countertops and cabinets; and garage systems. These areas can reveal leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and more.

Ventilation/insulation

Inspectors should check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawl spaces. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Here in Tehachpi we get freezing weather that cause problems like pipes freezing and breaking if not properly insulated. Without proper ventilation, excess moisture can lead to mold and water damage.

Fireplaces

They’re charming, but fireplaces can be dangerous if they’re not properly installed and maintained. Inspectors should examine the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel-burning appliances.


Search Tehachapi Homes for Sale the easy way.

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Preparing to Buy Real Estate in Tehachapi

Preparing to
Buy your Tehachapi Home

Choose an agent you know you can trust.

Finding a trusted partner is absolutely a vital step to purchasing a home. Choosing a real estate professional to help you with each step of the process can help relieve  stress and worry. An Associated Real Estate agent will take the time to understand your goals and will be ready and able to guide you through the home buying process.

Talk to mortgage brokers.

Many first-time home buyers don’t take the time to get prequalified. They also often don’t take the time to shop around to find the best mortgage for their particular situation. It’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the home loan process completely. You may discover that improving your credit could help you to afford your dream home in Tehachapi. Talking to a professional to prepare you for the finance process will also help you know what you can afford to offer when you do find that perfect home.

Be ready to move.

This is especially true in markets with a low inventory of homes for sale. It’s very common for home buyers to miss out on the first home they wish to purchase because they don’t act quickly enough. By the time they’ve made their decision, they may find that someone else has already purchased the house.

Make a good offer.

Remember that your offer is very unlikely to be the only one on the table. Do what you can to ensure it’s appealing to a seller.

Factor maintenance and repair costs into your buying budget.

Even brand-new homes will require some work. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

Think ahead.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also think about reselling the home before you buy. The average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Develop your home/neighborhood wish list.

Prioritize these items from most important to least.

Select where you want to live.

Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account nearby schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety. Get to know each area of Tehachapi and what it has to offer you. You may like the connivance of being in town or want more outdoor space and prefer Golden Hills. If amenities or Equestrian facilities is what you are looking for you might choose Bear Valley. You should also ask about Home Owners association fees and CC&R’s for each area to be sure it will fit your lifestyle and budget.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update- Feb 12, 2017

Sold Last Week in Tehachapi, CA: Feb 6- Feb 12

Address Area Bed Bath Sq Ft Lot Sz DOM Sell $
122 W West E Street St Tehachapi City 2 1 624 0.17 20 $90,000
324 E F St Tehachapi City 3 2 1637 0.17 71 $125,000
200 Meadowbrook Ct Tehachapi City 4 2 1155 0.15 25 $160,000
207 W A St Tehachapi City 2 1 1239 0.18 33 $171,500
308 W E St Tehachapi City 3 2 1500 0.18 32 $205,000
27650 Buckpasser Dr Stallion Springs 3 2 2348 0.32 92 $250,000
28121 Braeburn Pl Stallion Springs 3 3 2221 0.41 127 $265,000
812 Mulberry St Tehachapi City 3 2 2100 0.17 82 $280,000

Based on information from the Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the Tehachapi MLS). All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.


Search Tehachapi Homes for Sale the easy way.

Check out our

2 CLICK HOME SEARCH

to see real time data from the MLS for FREE!

Before Putting Your Tehachapi Home Up for Sale

 

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Before Putting Your Tehachapi Home Up for Sale

Here are a few items to take care of before listing your home in Tehachapi. These can make the sale process quicker and easier in the long run.

Consider a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers. Consider making repairs so potential buyers see the property in its best possible condition.

Other Pre -Sale Inspections.  In some areas of Tehachapi, specifically Golden Hills, Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs and all of the unincorporated county areas, Septic Systems and Well Systems are very common.  If your home has one of these systems, ask your Associated Real Estate Agent if it would be a good idea to have those systems inspected prior to listing.  This can save time during escrow and help to alleviate buyers concerns while listed, thereby helping to increase exposure and the likeliness of getting a full price offer.  Wood Destroying Pest Inspections are also common in our area.  If you have any sign of wood or water damage, your agent may be able to advise looking into it and could refer you to a Certified Inspector.

Organize and cleanPare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and seasonal items. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or storage area. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine. Clearing away clutter can help a buyer see the homes potential.

Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that will need to be replaced soon? Find out how much it will cost to repair an older roof or replace worn carpeting, even if you don’t plan to do so.  The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and they’ll be handy when negotiations begin.

Locate warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the water heater, washer/dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house. It may seem like this task can be left until closing, but you don’t want lost paperwork or last-minute scrambling to cause the deal to fall through.

Spruce up the curb appeal. Walk out to the front of your home, close your eyes, and pretend you’re a prospective buyer seeing the property for the first time. Is the yard clear of seasonal weeds and does the landscape look nicely manicured ? Is there pealing paint on the eaves or a crack in the side walk? As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Dose the property look well kept? Is the address clearly visible? A buyer makes their first impression from the street and even small improvements in curb appeal can make a big difference.

Understand Agency Relationships

It’s important to understand what legal responsibilities your real estate salesperson has to you and to other parties in the transaction. Ask what type of agency relationship your agent has with you:

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Seller’s representative (also known as a listing agent or seller’s agent)

A seller’s agent is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a listing contract.

Buyer’s representative (also known as a buyer’s agent)

A buyer’s agent is hired by prospective buyers to represent them in a real estate transaction. The buyer’s rep works in the buyer’s best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the buyer. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer’s rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller’s agent.

In Tehachapi, as in most of California, a buyer typically wont pay anything to their agent because the buyers agent will generally be offered a share of the commission paid by the seller. This gives buyers a way to have someone representing their best interests searching for homes for sale and negotiating for a Real Estate purchase.

Subagent

A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent’s customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer’s agent, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.

Disclosed dual agent

Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it’s vital that all parties give their informed consent. In many states, this consent must be in writing. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both of them, is legal in most states.

Designated agent (also called appointed agent)

This is a brokerage practice that allows the managing broker to designate which licensees in the brokerage will act as an agent of the seller and which will act as an agent of the buyer. Designated agency avoids the problem of creating a dual-agency relationship for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties. The broker still has the responsibility of supervising both groups of licensees.

Nonagency relationship (called, among other things, a transaction broker or facilitator)

Some states permit a real estate licensee to have a type of nonagency relationship with a consumer. These relationships vary considerably from state to state, both as to the duties owed to the consumer and the name used to describe them. Very generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.


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