April 7, 2020

FREE Subscriptions

Posted in Community
April 7, 2020

Need Mortgage Assistance?

 
There are resources for California homeowners experiencing hardship during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Here are 4 options that could be available to you.

TALK TO YOUR LOAN SERVICER BEFORE YOUR PAYMENT IS DUE
Once you realize that you're going to be unable to make your mortgage payment, your first call should be to your loan servicer.  Essentially, your loan servicer will be able to tell you about all the options that are available to you, based on the specifics of your financial situation.

ASK ABOUT LOAN DEFERMENT
Fannie Mae and Freddi Mac - the two governement-sponsored enterprises that buy most of the country's mortgage debt - recently announced a new payment deferral option.  The option was originally intended to be rolled out later this year, but has been released early due to the spike in unemployment from Coronavirus.  The deferral option would allow you to temporarily defer your mortgage payments (from 1 to 6 months depending on your bank) by adding them onto the end of your mortgage.  In other words, while you'll get a break from paying now, you'll still have to make up those payments at the end of your loan term.

ASK FOR FORBEARANCE
Essentially, loan forbearance allows you to temporarily lower or pause your loan payment for a longer period of time, usually up to a year.  Just like the loan deferral program, any paused payments will be added on to the end of your loan term.

WORK OUT A LOAN MODIFICATION
A loan modification might be a better idea if you think your financial troubles may end up going on longer than a few months.  With a loan modification, your lender permanetly changes the terms of your loan in order to lower your payment.  These changes could include reducing the principal amount owed, lowering the interest rate, and/or extending the loan term.  In this case, you'll still be responsible for making mortgage payments, even though they are lower, so you'll want to be clear with your lender about how much you can afford to pay.

Whatever you decide to do it is vital that you speak with your loan service provider FIRST to weigh out your options available.  
Posted in Community
April 7, 2020

2020 March Real Estate Market

Today I want to share with you some important information about our current real estate market.

I posted a market update for the month of February but because our current market is changing so quickly I wanted to give you even more information that will help you understand what is happening with homes right now.
The numbers I posted in the February market update show how many homes sold during the month but actually reflect homes that went pending in January... so the numbers are a little before the stay in place order.
Let's really look at what has happened in the month of February while many people have been staying home.
In east contra costa county we had 316 new homes come on the market this last month and 260 have already went pending.  On the market update I reported 219 homes sold and this next month is on track to be much higher than that.
The other interesting fact is while on my market update I show that the average days on market has been 31 days, in the homes that are currently pending the average days on market is only 24 days.
The data is telling us that more homes are coming on the market for sale right now, more homes are selling right now and faster than before.
You may wonder why this is happening during this time.  First there are always people that have to move for many different reasons so we will always have home sales, but why are the numbers projected to be better than they were the previous month?  
I am seeing more buyers at home having time to search for homes than they did when they were working.  Buyers wanting to take advantage of the time they are spending in their homes to pack and move.  Buyers taking advantage of amazing loan opportunities and buyers that are in lower price ranges that were outbid by 15 other buyers are now only competing against 7 other buyers so they are more optimistic they will find a home.
Sellers are also taking advantage of lower inventory.  Some homes in the higher price points may not sale as quickly and this is one of the only times that I can remember where days on market will not matter in a few months.  When people look at homes for sale and see how long they have been on the market they will not think the home has something wrong with it, instead they will say it's because of the timing.  Since days on market is no longer a factor many sellers are opting to give selling now a try and having great success.
If you have any questions about your personal situation, let's discuss your options...  925-584-1640
Posted in Community
April 3, 2020

SELLING or BUYING a Home During This Time

 

Are you thinking about selling or buying a home in the near future? 

 

HOME BUYERS and SELLERS, let's connect virtually!
If you are planning on selling a home within the next year... I am here for you!
👉🏻I want to make sure you understand the current market
👉🏻See how technology is being used to help you
👉🏻Get everything in place now to sell your home
👉🏻Know the opportunities available for you
👉🏻Have all your questions answered
☎️925-584-1640 Let's talk 🤗

Posted in Market Update
April 3, 2020

Fitness Companies Offering FREE Subscriptions

As millions of Americans now sit at home, sequestering themselves to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, fitness companies are trying to keep them moving. Now several of them are offering online workouts for FREE.

1. Peloton

The maker of fully connected, high-end stationary bicycles and treadmills. The app can be used with any bike or tread, and the offerings also include floor workouts, yoga and meditation classes. Instructors will be offering live classes from the company's new Manhattan studios, but along, without anyone else in the room. 

Peloton has extended the their app free trial to 90 days. As daily routines continue to change, they want you to have access to their full library of classes from the comfort of home. Take a mix of yoga, meditation, strength, cycling, running and more. They will also remind you three days before your trial ends so you won't be accidentally billed, and you can cancel anytime. 

Click here to start your 90-day trial.  https://www.onepeloton.com/digital/checkout/digital-90d

2. Youniquely Fit

They are offering 5 WEEKS of FREE online access to unlimited streaming of their posture-based at-home tailored workout programs that will improve functional movement, alleviate pain, prevent injuries, and get you as close to perfect posture as possible.

Check out this fun explainer video to learn more: https://youniquelyfit.com/

Get started by taking their FREE guided Posture Assessment to learn which programs are best for your body: https://youniquelyfit.com/posture-assessment-online/

To redeem your FREE 5 WEEKS:

  1. Go to www.youniquelyfit.com

  2. Click FREE TRIAL and then SUBSCRIBE NOW

  3. Register with your email and choose your password

  4. At checkout, enter your credit card and voucher code CROSS5

You are now logged in and can manage your account and stream unlimited workouts from your computer, phone, tablet and mirror to your TV.

3. Beachbody

They are one of the largest streaming fitness companies, is offering its multiple fitness programs free for 14 days. These include popular workouts like the P90X series, 21-Day Fix, Insanity and PiYo.

They have over 1,200 workouts with unlimited ways to reach your goals. They know how to get results and prove it in the real world with proven fitness programs that have helped millions of people over the past 20 years. 

Click here for your 14 day free trial. https://www.beachbody.com/checkout/breg1hh.do?setco=true&type=upsell

4. The Daily Burn

They are a streaming fitness model, has a 30-day free trial period. This program is designed to make you feel like you're in a class while your home alone. They offer workout programs designed just for you. All you need to to is enter some quick details about yourself, and they will tailor programs just for your level and goals, including a schedule of workout videos to follow, nutrition plans and even rest days. 

Click here for your 30-day free trial. https://dailyburn.com/register/a33196/index.html

Posted in Lifestyle
April 2, 2020

NEW TO HOMESCHOOL

School closures have a lot of parents feeling overwhelmed and anxious, asking questions like, “How am I going to parent, and teach, and continue to do my job either from home or in my workplace? 

Whether moms and dads are continuing to work outside the home, or now working from home, the whole concept of home education is new to many of them. Here are some important tips for maintaining peace and productivity, for your children and for you. 

#1 SET UP A LEARNING SPACE

Create an area in the house for your child to be able to focus on learning. There are no clear guidelines on what a learning area should look like. In fact schools have found creating learning areas or spaces to be a challenge. This is because every child has individual ways of learning, so what works for one may not work for another.

#2 THINK ABOUT TECHNOLOGY YOU WILL USE

It's worth checking what programs you will need to access the work the school send. You may need Adobe Acrobat Reader (which is free) or any specific video players such as Abode Flashplayer. There are a ton of educational websites offering free subscriptions during the COVID-19 period.

#3 CREATE A SCHEDULE

Make sure your children do not just see this as an extended holiday but as normal school, from home. It's important to create a structure. We all need to process new learning so allow children time to relax between learning periods. But there are no hard and fast rules over how many breaks they should have or how long these should be. Research shows giving children freedom to choose how they learn, and how long for, can increase their motivation.

#4 GET TO KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILD SHOULD KNOW

If your child's school has moved to online learning, as a supervising adult you will be more a teacher's aide or facilitator rather than a replacement teacher. It's likely schools will provide learning materials, although some may not if the school is still open and your child is staying home for other reasons. It's worth checking with the school, either way.

#5 BE AROUND TO HELP, BUT DON'T GET IN THE WAY

States and territories are putting supporting information online for how the parents can be a teacher's guide and facilitator. If your child is finding a particular task difficult, be available to make suggestions and answer questions, but try to let them do things themselves as much as possible.

Posted in Kids
March 31, 2020

75 Fun At-Home Activities For Families & Kids

This list of 75 fun (and mostly free) activities that you and your kids can enjoy at home.  This handy list can easily be printed and placed on the refrigerator – a great way to have instant “ideas” when boredom strikes!

 

Challenge YOUR kids to do one activity every day all summer long.  It’s a great way to learn a few new games and activities, while filling those “I’m bored!” moments.
      1. Obstacle Course
      2. Scavenger Hunt
      3. Water Balloons
      4. Collect Bugs
      5. Study a spider web
      6. 3-legged races
      7. Wash the dog
      8. Wash the car
      9. Paint outdoors
      10. Stargazing
      11. Plant a Garden
      12. Camp in the Backyard
      13. Eat watermelon in big wedges
      14. Look for 4-leaf clovers
      15. Splash in puddles
      16. Build a bird house
      17. Make a paper hat
      18. Make a paper boat and see if it floats
      19. Decorate a T-shirt
      20. Send Post Cards to family & friends
      21. Finger Painting
      22. Make your own play-doh
      23. Make a necklace out of beads or pasta
      24. Write an autobiography
      25. Bubbles
      26. Hula Hoops
      27. Jump Ropes
      28. Rearrange your bedroom
      29. Have a PJ Party
      30. Watch the clouds
      31. Create a movie or play
      32. Make up a story;  Illustrate it
      33. Have a talent show in your backyard
      34. Learn a Line Dance
      35. Practice tongue twisters
      36. Learn to juggle
      37. Create a house of cards
      38. Have an airplane race
      39. Bob for apples
      40. Make a Rope Swing
      41. Hopscotch
      42. Freeze Tag
      43. Hide and Seek
      44. Red Light Green Light
      45. Dodge Ball 
      46. Learn a Yo-Yo trick 
      47. Play H-O-R-S-E
      48. Egg Toss
      49. Do Yoga
      50. Create a musical instrument out of recyclables
      51. Make a box town out of old boxes
      52. Have a picnic on the living room floor
      53. Play cards (Crazy 8s, War, Rummy)
      54. Family game night
      55. Watch old home movies or look at old pictures
      56. Have a watermelon seed spitting contest
      57. Build a fort
      58. Fly a kite
      59. Play capture the flag
      60. Play Freeze Tag
      61. Go for a hike
      62. Walk the dog
      63. Bake some treats for your neighbors
      64. Play chess or checkers
      65. Play charades
      66. Have a bubble-blowing contest
      67. Climb a tree
      68. Do blind taste tests with various drinks and food
      69. Solve a crossword or word search puzzle
      70. Make butterflies from coffee filters
      71. Play hangman or tic-tac-toe
      72. Dance to 50s music (or any era)
      73. Invite neighbors for a family potluck dinner
      74. Play free online games
      75. Make a Diet Coke and Mentos eruption
Posted in Lifestyle
March 30, 2020

Easy Ways to Organize the Most Used Spaces in Your Home

Are you finding yourself with some extra downtime around the house during this coronavirus pandemic?

While there is nothing wrong with a little Netflix binge watching, diving into a good book, or trying out some virtual tours, more time spent at home might be the perfect opportunity to clean out closets, pantries, and other cluttered spaces. Here are 5 easy ways to organize the most used spaces in your home. 

#1 Pantry

An easy way to organize your pantry is by using containers to decant boxed items to make it easier to see what you have, and how much of it you have. Nobody enjoys reaching into an empty box of disappointment. You can also make an eco-friendly choice by using glass containers if going green is important to you. If you're a fan of labels like I am, don't be afraid to label the shelves too. You can do it by breakfast items, snack items, or even have a shelf dedicated to the foods your kids love. 

#2 Home Office

Organizing your home office can be a daunting task, especially if you're someone who works from home often or has a hobby that utilizes that space. In order to reduce paper clutter in your office space, try to request your bills to be sent electronically. If you like having paper bills be sure to have a file cabinet or an accordion folder to easily stow away documents. Keep important documents like insurance policies, tax documents, real estate transactions, wills, etc. in a fire box and keep in a safe space. 

#3 Garage

The garage is probably the toughest space to tackle. If this is an overwhelming task to you, break it up by sections. Organize lawn tools first, then items used for outdoor hobbies, home improvement next, and so on. Use a tracking system to hang up tools and other items, this will help to eliminate floor clutter. Don't forget to use vertical storage and be sure to use the ceiling for more storage space too. 

#4 Personal Closet

When it comes to your personal closet it can be a challenge to get rid of your clothes. If you are having a hard time deciding whether to keep an item, create a "maybe" pile, put your maybe pile into a bin and revisit 1, 3 or 6 months later. If you forgot about these items or never thought about wearing them, you can confidently donate or consign them. 

#5 Linen Closet

Keep one extra set of sheets per bed in your home. Fold the sheets and store them inside one of the extra pillow cases. This will create a "package" that you can easily grab and looks way nicer than a bunch of folded pieces. I also recommend using bins to group items together and if you're a fan of labeling, you should also utilize  that to make it easily known what is where. 

Posted in organization
March 27, 2020

Now in the 925 Featuring Old Republic Home Protection

Selling and buying a home is likely the largest transaction you'll make in your lifetime, so why leave anything to chance? Protect yourself and your investment from unforeseen system and appliance repairs with Old Republic Home Protection comprehensive home warranty plans

.

Old Republic Home Protection has been providing outstanding Home Warranty Service since 1974. For quality repair and replacement of covered home systems and appliances, Old Republic is the right place for you. They provide coverage for your Plumbing, Electrical and Heating and Air Conditioning systems and kitchen appliances, In addition, optional coverage choices can be purchased to 'custom fit' the Plan to the unique needs of your home. Old Republic Home Protection's Home Warranty Plan offers Plan Holders comprehensive protection against the high cost of repair or replacement of their home's major systems and appliances. Their Standard Home Warranty Plan offers coverage on plumbing, heating and electrical systems as well as appliances including oven/range, water heater, dishwasher, garbage disposal, trash compactor and specialty items such as built-in bathtub whirlpool, and central vacuum systems. Optional coverage is also available, and varies by state. Optional coverage includes swimming pool and/or spa equipment, well pump, roof coverage, etc. Please see your state specific Home Warranty Plan(s) for details of coverage. 

If you have any questions about Home Warranty Plans please give Amanda Spencer a call. If you have any real estate questions, please feel free to call me at 925.584.1640. 

Amanda Spencer

Sales Service Coordinator at Old Republic Home Protection

2 Annabel Lane

San Ramon, Ca 94583

800.282.7131 x 1295

amandas@orhp.com

 

Posted in Home Buyer
March 26, 2020

8 Reasons The Coronavirus Won't Crash The Housing Market

It's all you hear on the news, it's all you read in the papers, and it's all you see on social media. The coronavirus is everywhere! There are differences in the market that spell good things for the housing market despite recent events. Here are some key indicators that we will avoid a housing market crash. 

1. Inventory is Low 

Today, in our local area and nationwide, we only have 2-3 months of inventory. Buyer demand is strong and is predicted to continue. 

2. Mortgage Rates are Low

Mortgage rates are low and are expected to remain low. These rates will encourage people to buy. 

3. Subprime Loans are Down

Today, household debt is at a historically low 96% of GDP. Households are saving about 8% of their income. This means people are better equipped to handle a temporary economic disruption. 

4. Homeowners Have More Equity in Their Homes

Americans own $18.7% trillion of their homes, giving them a 64% equity stake. This means vast majority of homeowners will have no problem keeping their home during these times. 

 

5. Government is Offering a Moratorium on Foreclosures

The government is offering a moratorium on foreclosures for 60 days, which is likely to be extended for up to 12 months. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that all single-family homeowners with Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages would be shielded from foreclosures or eviction until mid-May. 

6. Home Prices Appreciated During Previous Recessions

Home prices went up in the three out of the last five recessions. Annual home value appreciation across all states since 1997 has averaged 4% during recessions. 

7. People Will Always Need a Place to Live

People understand the value of having a roof over their heads. In times of uncertainty, homeownership is a security people take pride in and work toward. 

8. No One Knows How Long This Will Last

Now is not the time to start panicking and stop doing what works and makes sense. Stick to what's working, adapt with the change, and you will come out on top.

 

Posted in Market Update